Senior Megan Damele, along with nine other Northern Nevada student-athletes, was honored on April 25 by the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association (NIAA) at a formal dinner banquet at the Peppermill Resort Casino in Reno. Also invited to share the night with her were her mother, Garney, her father JD, her sister, Jaime, her Uncle John and his family, and her strength coach, Dino Nappi. Megan and the other honorees were selected based on their respective academic caliber, athletic achievements, and community service.
Damele and each of the honorees was judged and selected based on the following: class rank, grade point average, honor roll semesters, honors/AP classes, ACT scores (Damele chose to take the ACT three times until she earned her desired score of 30), varsity sports and varsity letters, individual and team athletic achievements, community service, letters of recommendation and an essay.
For her exemplary high school efforts, Damele received academic and athletic recognition during the formal banquet, a five hundred dollar scholarship, a Lifetouch Studios portrait, web-based feature stories in the Las Review Journal and Reno Gazette-Journal, respectively, and an NIAA Courtesy Card.
Damele earned four varsity letters each in basketball and track-and-field. Her multiple and varied Division IV regional and state track-and-field accomplishments include being the two-time defending state champion in the one hundred meters, the four hundred meters state champion her junior year, and the two hundred meters state champion her sophomore year. In basketball this year, she was the team captain and an all-Division honorable mention. As well, her freshman year, she was a member of Eureka County High School girls’ basketball team’s state championship.
As well as her athletic accomplishments, Damele has earned a 4.16 grade point average, has been named to the NIAA Academic State Team, was a Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Distinguished Finalist, is a member of the National Honor Society and last year was elected by her peers to be their student council’s representative to the school board. She is also fully involved in Future Farmers of America, where she has also earned state championships.
Damele was also recognized by the adults in her life. As stated in the NIAA Banquet program, Principal Dan Wold said, “[We have] two expectations of all students: Work hard and be nice. Megan lives by those expectations.” Athletic Director Elmer Porter said, I . . . admire her work ethic and dedication to any task she chooses.” English teacher Dino Nappi said, “One of Megan’s favorite films is Rocky (1976), in which the following is stated, ‘I believe there’s an inner power that makes winners . . . And the winners are the ones who really listen to the truth of their hearts.’ Megan’s heart’s compass points in the direction of True North.”
During an interview, Damele was asked what one word she would use to describe how she feels when she succeeds. She said, “Relief.”
Which begged the question, “But relief implies that there is a burden. What is the burden?”
To which she replied, “The burden is the realization that failure was one of the two choices I had.”
Damele has accepted an academic-athletic scholarship form the College of Idaho where she will further pursue her studies and athletic endeavors.